Tuesday, December 3, 2019

High West Yippee Ki-Yay Blended Rye Finished in Vermouth and Syrah Barrels - Batch No. 19C27

- $75
- 92 Proof
- Blend of 2 to 16 year whiskeys
- Batch No. 19C27
- Utah/Kentucky/Indiana

Who loves free whiskey?!? I know I’ve asked this question at the start of reviews in the past, but it really is one my most favoritest things in life! For my 40th birthday, a good friend of mine bought me this bottle of Yipee Ki-Yay. He’s in California, so he purchased it online through Binny’s, and I just got a text message to go pick up my bottle. Kind of nice walking into a liquor store, having them hand you a bottle of whiskey, and then just walking out!

For reference purposes, per High West's website, this is a blend of straight rye whiskeys aged from 2 to 16 years, as follows (though the ratios are a secret): 95% rye, 5% barley malt from MGP; 53% rye, 37% corn, 10% barley from Barton; and 80% Rye, 20% malted rye from High West Distillery.

I’ve reviewed this whiskey before, here, but that was over 3 ½ years ago, and it was Batch No. 1. I didn’t go back and look at that post until I finished this bottle (didn’t want to be influenced by it), but I did have a recollection of not being too fond of it when I tried it back then. I remembered the vermouth influence being not to my liking and that the whiskey was very sweet. I was curious as to how my impressions may have changed, or how the whiskey may have changed, over time.

On the nose I got a sort of blend of pepper, cinnamon and cherry. I’m sure the cherry came from the Syrah barrels. The nose was very strong—I could smell it from a couple feet away. I also got something with a bit of bite to it, like a strong anise note, stronger than I would have preferred.

The first thing I noticed when I poured my glass was the distinct red hue. For what it was worth, it looked really good. On the first sip, the first thing I noticed was a bright, but lightly bitter raspberry flavor. It was reminiscent of the sherry notes I’d pick up from sherried Scotches. Along with that bright raspberry note, however, was a sort of metallic note. I couldn’t quite place what it was, but it was kind of like that tin can flavor that tends to seep into canned foods. This was a bit off-putting.

The back end had that pepper spice I got from the nose, which was really enjoyable with the bright fruit notes. I also got a sort of cloves flavor that at times seemed to go between notes of cinnamon and notes of anise or black licorice.

It was not as sweet as I had remembered it being. That was the one thing that I recalled from the last time I had this whiskey, and it just wasn’t much of an issue this time around. Rather, I got a more dry quality from this. Part way through the bottle I was picking up notes of unsweetened peach tea. It had that sort of herbal or earthy flavor of the tea, along with the unsweetened fruit notes, almost like it was the “essence” of peach as some flavored waters might describe it.

I certainly think I like this better than I did the last time, though my grade, looking back now, is only slightly higher than the grade I gave to Batch No. 1. Perhaps I liked it more the first time than I realized, or perhaps I just don’t like this as much as I initially thought this time around. Either way, it’s a decent whiskey, but I’ll continue to lean toward other High West offerings.

Grade: B

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